BELLEVILLE – Randy Gori’s firm in Edwardsville, currently filing asbestos suits in St. Clair County at a rate of one per day, has contributed $11,526.04 to the judicial campaign of Christopher Kolker.
The firm gave Kolker $5,000 last November, after giving him $1,000 in October.
Firm members Todd Mathews and Sara Salger each gave him $1,000 in November. Mathews serves as Kolker’s campaign chairman.
Through April 20, Gori’s firm paid $3,526.04 for postage on Kolker’s campaign mail.
Kolker, an associate judge, seeks election as Democratic candidate to the vacancy of former Judge Robert LeChien, who died last August. He will run against Republican Laninya Cason.
Kolker doesn’t currently preside over asbestos suits.
Chief Judge Andrew Gleeson alternates assignment of asbestos suits between retiring Circuit Judge Vincent Lopinot and Associate Judge Julia Gomric.
Lopinot has handled the biggest share of the asbestos docket for years.
That docket multiplied in the last six years, as Gori shifted some of his activity from Madison County to St. Clair County.
This year, his firm has filed 36 percent of all new major civil cases in St. Clair County.
From April 19 to May 22, a span of 34 days, his firm filed 34 asbestos suits in St. Clair County.
The number of defendants ranged from 24 to 87, with an average of 56.
Three plaintiffs alleged that asbestos caused mesothelioma, and the other 31 alleged that it caused lung cancer.
Two plaintiffs stated their place of residence.
One plaintiff’s work history ended in 1974, and another’s ended in 1977.
Since Gori began bringing more suits to St. Clair County, his firm has contributed more than $35,000 to the county’s Democratic judicial candidates.
In 2012, his firm gave $3,000 to Gleeson, $1,500 to current Circuit Judge Zina Cruse, and $1,000 to Lopinot.
In 2014, his firm gave $8,700 to associate judge Heinz Rudolf, who lost to current Circuit Judge Stephen McGlynn.
In 2016, his firm gave $4,000 to former chief judge John Baricevic, who lost to current Circuit Judge Ron Duebbert.
His firm gave $2,000 to the late Robert LeChien, who won.
This year, his firm contributed $3,500 to Fifth District appellate court candidate Kevin Hoerner of Belleville.
In addition to supporting judicial candidates, his firm gave $4,000 to the St. Clair County Democratic central committee last year.
Over the years, his firm’s statewide contributions have run into millions.
On a single day in October 2016, his firm gave $235,000 to Fair Courts Now for campaign messages.
In the course of that campaign, his firm contributed $47,650 to Fifth District appellate court candidate Jo Beth Weber, who lost.
His firm has given $165,700 to the Illinois Democratic Party in eight years, $89,800 to the Senate Democratic Victory Fund in six years, and $63,200 to House Speaker Mike Madigan in seven years.